DeVonta Smith wasn’t asking for birthday presents on Sunday. He was taking them. The rookie receiver hauled in four balls for 66 yards and two touchdowns, including a leaping 36-yard grab over Patrick Surtain II in the end zone.
That score put the Philadelphia Eagles up 10-0 early in the first quarter and the rout was on. The boys in midnight green racked up 386 total yards and 22 first downs in a dominating 30-13 win over the Denver Broncos. They rode a punishing ground game for a third consecutive week while Smith proved why he was worth the 10th overall pick. He has thrived as the team’s number one receiving option, punctuating his arrival with a two-touchdown performance on his 23rd birthday.
“A win, that’s all I wanted,” Smith told reporters after the game. “It’s just Jalen trusting me like I trust him.”
Head coach Nick Sirianni appears to have dialed up the right formula for success. The Eagles have put up 98 points over the past three weeks and were a field goal away from tying the Los Angeles Chargers. The team has bought into Sirianni’s five core principles. The 4-6 Eagles are officially chasing a wild-card playoff spot. And the first-year coach has given them a new motto, one that pays homage to Michigan basketball.
“I was a big Fab Five fan growing up. I’m still a Michigan basketball fan,” Sirianni said. “They had a saying there. I’ll let you guys look it up. I’m not gonna say it here. We do mention it a little bit. But it’s basically what we say — and again, I won’t say it. I know my brother and I say it to each other all the time.”
What is the saying? Jalen Hurts advised everyone to go listen to “Gotta Let Your Nuts Hang” by Houston-based rap group Geto Boys. Smith alluded to the new motto during his first touchdown celebration.
“That’s kind of our motto,” Smith said. “I ain’t gonna say it, but that’s what our motto is.”
The latest Eagles news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Eagles newsletter here!
City Fumbles, Country Fumbles
Darius Slay made the play of the day when he scooped up a Melvin Gordon fumble and ran it back 82 yards for a touchdown. Sirianni ran with him stride for stride along the sideline in jubilant celebration. After the game, the head coach detailed the differences between a “city fumble” and a “country fumble.”
“We have a city fumble rule and a country fumble rule,” Sirianni said. “A city fumble is if there’s a lot of bodies around, get on it. If it’s a country fumble and there’s not a lot of bodies around, you take it. It’s like if you’re in West Chester, then you can scoop and score. If you’re in downtown Philly, you got to get on the ball.”
Davion Taylor was the guy who poked the ball loose, although he didn’t realize it at the time. He looked up at the Jumbotron and watched his own highlight-reel play from start to finish. Slay’s touchdown made it 27-13 and all but iced it for Philadelphia. City fumble or country fumble, the Pro Bowl cornerback was determined to score.
“I’m trying to score every time I touch the rock,” Slay said. “It could have been both (a city fumble or a country fumble). All I know is city fumbles, country fumbles, they both turn into touchdowns.”
Jordan Howard Paces Ground Attack
The Eagles once again relied on their stout offensive line and rushed the ball 40 times for 214 yards. Jordan Howard (83 yards) and Boston Scott (81 yards) paced the ground attack while Jalen Hurts turned 14 carries into 53 yards. The dual-threat quarterback only attempted three passes in the second half. The Eagles have found their identity on offense.
“We’re getting it done running the ball and throwing it,” right tackle Lane Johnson said, via the Eagles’ website. “I haven’t been here during anything like this, as far as the way we’re running the ball. We all love it.”